2017 Dairy Leadership Award

Chris Hackman

Chris Hackman was born in Jefferson City, Missouri to Gale and Judy Hackman. Chris graduated from Jefferson City High School with honors and went on to earn a bachelor of science in business from the University of Missouri.

Chris is the general manager of the Central Dairy Division of Prairie Farms Dairy and is the third generation of the Hackman family to serve in a leadership role for Central Dairy. The Central Dairy facility in Jefferson City was built in 1934. Chris’ grandmother, Tulah, started working for Central Dairy in 1936 and his grandfather, Leo, began working there shortly after. In 1961, Tulah and Leo, along with coworker Wilbur Davis, purchased the business. Chris’ father, Gale, joined the business in 1966.

Chris began working at the plant part-time while he was in school. He became a full-time employee in 1993 when he joined Central Dairy’s sales force. In 2000, Chris assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer. In Missouri, Central Dairy is well known for its traditional style ice cream parlor located at the plant site on Madison Street in Jefferson City. Crowds of schoolchildren traveling to the state capital, along with travelers looking for a unique experience or a refreshing treat stop in to enjoy hand-dipped ice cream.

Central Dairy has grown from a small regional dairy processing business to now being part of a multibillion-dollar company since joining the Prairie Farms family in 2007. Under Chris’ leadership, plant production has increased significantly. Central Dairy currently produces fluid milk, culture, ice cream, bottled water, and orange juice for all of central Missouri, part of St. Louis, and neighboring states through its sister plants.

Chris is active in the dairy industry serving on the State Milk Board Advisory Committee since 2010. He served as president of the Missouri Dairy Products Association (MDPA) from 2008 to 2010. Chris has been on the MDPA board since 2010 and has served as the Scholarship Co-Chairman and as a Legislative Liaison from 2010 to present. He has also been an All Star Dairy Associate Board member since 2008 and served as president in 2016.

Chris is also active in the community and served the Jefferson City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau from 2006 to 2012. During this time, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau was able to negotiate a deal with the state of Missouri to start tours at the vacated Missouri State Penitentiary.

Multiple generations of the Hackman family have been honored by the Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors for their service and leadership to the Missouri dairy industry. Chris’ father, Gale Hackman, received the Dairy Leadership Award in 2002. Chris’ grandfather, Leo Hackman, received the Pioneer Dairy Leadership Award in 1998. This award honors posthumously those Missouri dairy leaders who, if living, would qualify for the Dairy Leadership Award.

In his letter of support, Greg Helbig, Director of Operations for Hiland Dairy Foods, said “As Chris’ bio explains, he has had a long history in the dairy business starting in 1988. Chris worked his way up to president/owner of the company…and he has served in many industry organizations. For these and many other reasons, I would request the Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors recognize Mr. Chris Hackman with the distinguished Leadership Award.”

Chris and his wife, Dawn, reside in Jefferson City. They have two daughters, Katelyn and Lauren.